According the Civil Survey (1654-6) Christopher Plunkett of Ardmagh owned 250 acres and the ‘old Castle’ there in 1640 (Simington 1940, 334), and the castle is also depicted as a tower in roughly this location on the Down Survey (1656-8) barony map of Kells and a parish map (see this web-site accessed on 23/08/2016: http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/history.html), although Ardmagh was part of Nobber parish. The forfeited Plunkett land was acquired by Thomas Taylor, who had come from England in 1653 and settled at Kells, and in 1680 he leased the ‘four Poles of Ardmagh, alias Ardmaghbregagh’ with other land to Francis Plunkett, whose graveslab is in Robertstown church (ME011-005----). The lease was bequeathed to Francis’ son, Thomas, who died intestate in 1691, leaving two daughters, but his mother, Catherine, who had married again to Edward Dowdall, a captain in King James’ army, took over the lease. After the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 Taylor evicted Catherine from Castlecam and repossessed Ardmagh. In 1692 Thomas’ widow, Bridget, leased 150 acres at Ardmagh and in 1695 Catherine leased a cottage at Castlecam. In 1720 the original lease of Francis Plunkett was discovered and his granddaughters, Elinor Cahill and William Donnellan, sought to recover the full extent of the lands and premises. Although they won the case it was not made absolute, and in 1728 it was dismissed by the House of Lords. (Ní Shúilliobháin 1987)
The castle is described as ‘Castlecome in ruins’ in gothic script on the 1836 and 1908 eds of the OS 6-inch map, but it is known as ‘Castlecam’. It is situated on a hilltop with wide views in every direction. This is a circular grass-covered area (diam. 30m NW-SE; 28m NE-SW) defined SW-N-E by low scarp (H 0.5m-1m). There are quarry holes to the SW and faint scarps outside to the S and SE. This is probably a rath and the castle of Ardmagh is probably unlocated in the vicinity.
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revision: 23 August 2016Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.